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I’m not sure it helps from a historical point of view to regard traditional patriarchy as a sin or as an inherent moral evil. It is possible to identify sins within patriarchal systems, which are an abuse of the system, but if we impose the sweeping moral judgment on the ancient past, we risk seriously distorting history. It’s a bit like—not entirely like—blaming the ancients for thinking that the earth was at the centre of the cosmos. I would be inclined to regard traditional patriarchy as morally neutral for the purposes of historical reconstruction.

I would also say that theology in the biblical tradition never transcends historical perspectives and cannot really be expected to. At a basic level, it is always culturally conditioned people trying to work out, as they make their way across the fractured landscape of history, how best to speak about the God who created the heavens and the earth.

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